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4 Questions: Camilla Clerke on being a Cannes Lions Judge in Mobile

Press Release - South Africa, 18 April 2017

It’s one thing entering your work for the Cannes Lions Awards – the conceptualising, crafting and grafting well into the night (and we’re only talking about the case studies here), but it’s another thing having someone who leads the magnificent slog, day in and day out, actually invited to sit on the judging panel.

Hellocomputer’s Creative Director, Camilla Clerke, who has spent the last four years at the agency pushing the boundaries of everything that’s possible (and sometimes impossible) in digital and storytelling, has been asked to attend the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity as a judge in the Mobile category.


All at the agency are particularly excited about her invite, for two reasons. Firstly, they’re very fond of this device many see life their lives through. Second, it’s about time the advertising world gets behind strong women who bring a valuable and needed perspective to the table. And Camilla is no exception.

She answers four questions about her coming task.

How did it feel when you found out you were judging?

Well, considering it’s a ‘life-long dream/goal’ thing, pretty damn elated. Cannes Lions has to be the most established and renowned advertising awards globally, where you don’t only get to immerse yourself in work that actually changes the way people behave, but meet the people behind it. I’m very ready to shake those hands.

What are your thoughts on mobile?

Mobile and I have a very intimate and respectful relationship. I am constantly amazed by the ability of this device to influence people – and we’re not just talking millennials, we’re talking everyone. Dad, too.

The industry has finally come to terms with the fact that ‘mobile-first’ isn’t just a term thrown around boardroom tables, but actually the only way to think and do. This has left designers a little frazzled (the diminishing canvas) and writers a bit put out (say it in a headline), but when you make it through the dark tunnel to the other side, it’s actually hugely exciting.

I don’t think we’ve ever before had a way to connect with people so deeply, at all times of the day. Mobile is our touch-point. From the moment we wake up to check the weather (wind, again, Cape Town) to the final WhatsApp before closing our eyes (just come out for one drink).  

What do you expect to see (and hear) on your judging panel?

I think we’ll see some truly ‘mobile first’ work, where agencies and clients have pushed aside any mobile-resentment they might have had, and are embracing this device in the best way possible.

I expect plenty of debate, lots of knowledge sharing (from target market behaviour, to new tech, and that App that makes the ‘doof doof’ sound to turn up the beat), and the occasional argument or two – which makes five days sitting in a dark room, hugely enlightening.

Women empowerment is the theme this year. What are your thoughts?

I’m one of the lucky ones. I’ve always been privileged to work alongside and admire some exceptional women; from the first review I ever did with Wendy Moorcroft, to the many (many) more with Avital Pinchevsky, the all-nighters with Kerry Friend, watching on as Jenny Glover reached her step-count at every award show, wisdom and acknowledgment from Suhana Gordhan and daily debates with my MD, Robyn Campbell, women in the industry have always stood out in my career as being knowledgeable, proud and strong-willed. But I know not everyone has had this experience.

What I don’t believe is that men and women are the same, but I do believe we should be treated the same way – with respect. I am proud of our differences. I like that we see life through a different lens. And love that our priorities can vary. And the more diverse the judging panels are (and I’m not just talking gender, but race and beliefs too) the better we’ll understand what work actually works.

So, I stand behind women empowerment, but I give a standing ovation to equality.

Where to next?

 A brainstorm. Thank goodness women are grounded ;)